When accused of a crime, it can be hard to completely open and honest about the case's facts. The police or federal agents are trying to get information out of you. You know that agents are interviewing your friends and family. You don't know who you can trust. But the one person you should never lie to during a criminal investigation or trial is your defense attorney.
Your Attorney Needs to Know the Facts
Your lawyer's job is to defend you, not to judge you. It's up to the judge or jury in federal court to determine your guilt or innocence. Your job is to be candid with your lawyer so that they can provide you the best possible defense and ensure that you receive a fair trial. Your attorney cannot reveal what you tell them about the crime, even if you admit guilt.
However, your lawyer will make decisions about how to present your defense based on what actually happened. For example, let's say you insist to your lawyer that you didn't commit the crime and you weren't even there when it happened, even though you were present at the scene of the crime. Your attorney puts you on the stand as part of your defense, and during cross-examination, the federal prosecutor trips you up, and you admit you were there. Even if you didn't commit the crime, you now look guilty because you lied to your attorney. If your attorney knows all the facts, they can protect you in court or present your case in a way that best helps your defense.
Ethical Obligations of an Attorney
Your criminal defense lawyer also has an ethical obligation to zealously represent you in your defense, regardless of your guilt or innocence. Your admission of guilt doesn't even mean that the case won't go to trial. Your attorney may recommend proceeding to trial for many reasons, including:
- A lack of compelling evidence,
- The violation of your rights,
- An unreasonable plea deal,
- Mitigating circumstances, or
- Simply because they believe you'll get a better sentence if the judge has all the facts.
While your lawyer can't lie or suborn perjury, they can still point out the lack of evidence, holes in the prosecution's case, and raise reasonable doubt about your guilt.
You Need an Experienced Federal Criminal Defense Attorney
At the Sigal Law Group, we have an excellent track record aggressively defending our clients in federal court. If you or someone you love faces federal charges in the Los Angeles area, we can work quickly to get them the help they need. Give us a call at 818-325-0570 for a free consultation.